May 2018
Join CivicSpark's 2018-19 Cohort!
We are still accepting applications for Fellows! CivicSpark Fellows have the opportunity to implement targeted projects in support of local government agencies, and develop technical skills while creating a meaningful and lasting impact in California's communities. The priority deadline to apply is June 1st . Applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis pending project availability.
Why CivicSpark?

CivicSpark provides Fellows significant professional development training, network development with regional and statewide contacts in the sustainability field, valuable experience in the sustainability and water fields and the local government sector, and a connection to a network of hundreds of CivicSpark alumni and hundreds of thousands of AmeriCorps Alums .

Additionally, Fellows receive the following benefits from their 11-month terms of service:

  • $16,000+ Living Allowance spread evenly over 11 months
  • $5,920 Segal Education Award upon completion of program
  • SNAP (Food Stamps) – for those eligible
  • Forbearance on existing qualifying student loans and payment of interest accrued during service
  • Health insurance
  • Childcare assistance to qualifying fellows, paid to an eligible provider of your choice

Help Us Spread the Word!

Please share the CivicSpark opportunity with anyone potentially interested in becoming a Fellow. They can learn more via our website in the link below.
Regional Spotlights
EV Infrastructure in Oakland
California Governor Jerry Brown has set a target of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles in the state by 2025. Simultaneously, large auto manufacturers project to sell millions of EVs in the coming years. The EV revolution is here, but the infrastructure is not. To enable broad and equitable access to EVs and EV charging, the City of Oakland is considering how to use governmental regulatory authority to increase the cities EV infrastructure. Ben Linthicum is working in the City of Oakland Sustainability Program within the Environmental Services Division. His main project has consisted of researching technologies and policies for getting EV charging stations into existing multifamily buildings. His other large projects included finalizing the 2015 GHG inventory; drafting a staff report recommending that Council adopt a 2030 GHG emission target; and shepherding EV charging station projects through Oakland’s internal processes. 
Energy Action in Sonora
Clarke Stevenson will be investing the remainder of his time with CivicSpark coordinating and facilitating a stakeholder working group to implement the beautiful City of Sonora’s Energy Action Plan through Sierra Business Council ’s Climate Planning team. Inhabiting one of CAL FIRE’s highest designation of wildfire risk as well as being ground-zero for the 2013 Rim Fire, energy efficiency and self-sufficiency would not immediately come to mind as a vehicle for community action. However, the allure of cost-effectiveness, energy independence and water conservation have reinvigorated a conversation that has grown stale in the community. As he continues to host stakeholder meetings, he is seeing the interest and desire of people looking to make energy action a staple of the Sonora image. As a program associate of Sierra Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Partnership , Clarke spent the first half of his year to educate the Sierra Nevada region on state policy, inter-regional collaboration and climate adaptation for frontline communities to apply the triple bottom line in the era of climate change.
Equitable and Sustainable Transit in Los Angeles
Partnered with Climate Resolve in Downtown LA, Chloe Ames’ projects promote equitable transit oriented communities and sustainable transit resiliency measures. Many of Chloe’s efforts focus on educational outreach tasks to update stakeholders on local and statewide transportation policy and opportunities to adapt to climate change impacts. This includes updating the EnviroMetro Coalition, a group of 60+ Los Angeles organizations with the goal of realizing a more sustainable transportation future, on the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro’s) policies and opportunities to provide feedback. Recently, EnviroMetro published an “Equity Survey” to support Metro’s Equity Framework. The survey aimed to identify investment priorities of lower-income, transit-dependent populations in Los Angeles, finding that respondents wanted more investments in the bus network. Chloe had the opportunity to partner with coalition members to develop the survey report, communication materials, and an accompanying webinar. She hopes that this work will encourage future community-based research to inform transportation investments.
Fellow Spotlights
Question of the Month : " What are some lessons you've learned from working on your Volunteer Engagement Project? "
Serena Desai | Bay Area Region
" Working with the California Native Plant Society, I’ve learned that it is extremely important to set reminders of deadlines. One time I dropped the ball coordinating CNPS’s attendance at an Earth Day festival and it was awful having to email the volunteers we recruited that we would no longer be tabling that event. I’ve also learned to be present - I attend some CNPS Board meetings and have been welcomed with more enthusiasm by members in times I spoke up for ideas and showed interest. "

Serena Desai graduated from California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. She received her B.S. in Biological Science and has an STS minor in Science & Risk Communication. It is through her love for the ocean and passion to help the environment that she came to CivicSpark. She hopes to help implement changes that help reduce the carbon footprint on a local level because she believes every action has a ripple effect. In her second year as a CivicSpark Fellow, Serena is looking forward to helping address water conservation in her home city of San Jose.
Sarah Kuo | Central Inland Region
" For my volunteer engagement project, I facilitated the creation of a community garden with the help of many community partners who offered just as many differing opinions of what an equitable project involving community engagement were to look like. Ultimately, I learned that food inequity and all the isms it intersects with cannot be fully addressed in just one project (or even 10), and that the systems we work within are entrenched with historic inequities. I can only hope that my efforts do not disguise as a colorful bandage, but serve as a small cry of resilience that informs future projects to operate smarter, be more inclusive, and more just. "

Sarah Kuo is a recent graduate of the University of the Pacific class of 2017. She majored in Geological and Environmental Sciences and minored in Jazz studies and Sustainability. During her time at Pacific, she was also a resident assistant, a peer educator for the Women’s Resource Center, Sustaining Pacific, and the Geosciences department, and heavily involved in campus organizations. She served as president of Soul Speaks, a club that focuses on advocacy through art, was a member of the Black Student Union, and often collaborated through these clubs with Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), and Queer People of Color (QPOC) for various campus events. During her free time, Sarah enjoys reading, cooking, farming, and creating.
Michal Helman | Greater Los Angeles Region
"Collaboration and relationship building has been essential to progress in volunteer engagement work. Being on very constrained timelines with limited hours it becomes critical to make the most of volunteer engagement projects through creating spaces and connections that will outlive the fellowship and thrive on their own. That sort of enduring success comes from engaging communities in events and projects that they are part of articulating, planning and executing. My dream at the end of volunteer engagement efforts is always to have community members who feel empowered to remain engaged."

Michal Helman is an avid explorer with a lifelong passion for social and environmental justice. While Michal grew up in the hilly moraines of Ann Arbor, Michigan, for the past four years she has been working as the Program Manager at the Ethics and Public Affairs Program in Missoula, Montana. After receiving her Bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan in Philosophy and Environmental Science, Michal went on to complete her M.S. in International Conservation and Development at the University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation. Michal’s academic research has focused on water governance and climate change impacts on the livelihood of agro-pastoralists in the Chilean Patagonia. Michal joins the CivicSpark team to continue working on bridging the gap between environmental issues and social policy through engaging communities to participate in local water governance initiatives.
CivicSpark Great Stories
Chelsea Polevy, 2017-18 Climate Fellow - Bay Area Region
"I was fairly stressed before the event - the compost was supposed to be delivered on Friday morning, but it didn't arrive until early Saturday morning. I could hardly sleep the night before knowing the event was riding on the shoulders of the delivery man!" ...

Madison Montague, 2017-18 Climate Fellow - Central Coast Region
" My favorite part of this month was tabling for emPower at the Santa Barbara Earth Day event. At our booth, we informed community members of all the energy efficiency programs offered at Santa Barbara County. We had kids sign on to a climate pledge, and adults sign up for the Sustainability Division’s newsletter or an emPower Energy Coach Site Visit. "...
CivicSpark in the News
Sarah Kuo, 2017-18 Water Fellow - Central Inland Region
Congrats to our Central Inland Water Fellow Sarah Kuo, who was featured in The Ceres Courier on her CivicSpark project with the Ceres Community Garden. Keep up the great work Sarah!
Upcoming Events
Community Choice: Power with Purpose
June 4-5, 2018 | Sacramento, CA

The Business of Local Energy Symposium  will be the premier convening of innovative leaders and experts to discuss, debate, and consider how we can most effectively contribute to Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) adoption. This is the place for local government policy makers, program leaders, and community advocates to inspire others and be inspired. 

On June 5th, CCA experts and leaders will come together for a day-long event. On June 4th, there will be a pre-symposium workshop in the afternoon on distributed energy resource projects that build local resiliency, provide unique customer services and contribute to local economic development. More information about the Pre-Symposium workshop and the Symposium is available here:

You can register here !
9th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum
June 20-21, 2018 | Sacramento, CA

The Local Government Commission, in partnership with the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative, is hosting the 9th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum (SEEC Forum). The SEEC Forum aims to provide learning, sharing, and networking opportunities to help local governments save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their communities, and catalyze climate action. The forum will feature engaging sessions, expert plenaries and keynotes, and new innovative activities to help energy leaders and practitioners connect to learn about innovative projects and strategies, share best practices, and troubleshoot challenges.

The SEEC Forum is offered at no-cost to California local government staff and officials. Click here to learn more.
3rd California Adaptation Forum
August 27-29, 2018 | Sacramento, CA

Save the dates! The Local Government Commission invites you to join us for the 3rd California Adaptation Forum!

The biennial California Adaptation Forum gathers the adaptation community to foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and mutual support to create resilient communities throughout the state. The Forum offers a series of engaging plenaries, sessions, networking opportunities, workshops, and tours to support our transition from adaptation awareness and planning to action.

Click here for more information.
CivicSpark is a Governor's Initiative AmeriCorps program implemented by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor's Office of Planning and Research. Each year, 90 Fellows are placed across California in regional hubs to implement targeted projects that build capacity for local government agencies to better address community resilience issues such as climate change, water resource management, and access to opportunities.

Learn more about CivicSpark at .